Forget hopping from one tourist spot to another—this episode is all about embracing authentic experiences. Starting with a manifesto that shatters common travel myths, we guide you toward a deeper connection with your destinations. Take Paris, for example; it’s not just about snapping a selfie with the Eiffel Tower, but about savoring coffee in quaint cafés and meandering through art museums.
But the conversation doesn’t stop there. Ever heard of buying a day pass to an airport or a beach club? We take you on a comprehensive tour of these emerging trends that are redefining travel convenience. From Orlando’s new terminal access program to luxurious airport lounges, discover how these passes are more than just golden tickets—they’re game-changers in how we experience layovers, amenities, and more.
This episode is a treasure trove of insights. From Mike’s deep dives into India—a sensory spectacle that needs to be felt to be believed—to James’s gastronomic escapades in New Orleans, we cover the globe, one authentic experience at a time. Oh, and don’t forget about our Virgin Voyages cruise giveaway. It’s a world of opportunity, and we’re handing you the compass.
Ready to set sail on a voyage of discovery? Tune in now.
Mike Putman (00:22.702)
Hey, adventurers, welcome back to another episode of No Tourist Allowed. Before we dive into today’s tales, we’ve got a quick pit stop in our Virgin Voyages cruise giveaway journey.
James Ferrara (00:37.262)
Every week we’ve been unveiling new ways for you to amplify your chances of winning that dreamy 7-day cruise. And this week, it’s all about taking to the skies.
Mike Putman (00:49.577)
We want to know your favorite airline, if you have one. Maybe it’s the one that’s giving you the best in-flight experience, or perhaps the airline that takes you to your dream destination. Whatever the reason, we want to hear it.
James Ferrara (01:04.146)
And by sharing your top airline pick through the poll on our website, you’ll earn five raffle points. But remember, like all our entry options, to ensure your points are locked in, you must cast your vote via the raffle form on our website. You can visit the link in the description. Of course, that’s notouristallowed.com.
Mike Putman (01:29.941)
Your next journey might just begin with you stepping aboard a luxurious Virgin Voyage ship, so make sure you’re casting your votes and racking up those points.
James Ferrara (01:39.766)
Now with the skies mapped and your airline choice in mind, let’s jet off into today’s episode.
Mike Putman (02:59.823)
Hello, I’m Mike Putman.
James Ferrara (03:03.955)
James Ferrara (03:09.219)
And I’m James Ferrara and no tourist allowed fist bump. Mike? There you go. Welcome everybody.
Mike Putman (03:15.389)
There we go. The camera’s cut off your fist, but hopefully I did the right hand. Yeah, welcome. We’ve got a lot of stuff to go over this week and got a lot of upcoming travel. James and I both have lots of travel coming up, which we’re gonna share a little bit about with you. But first we wanna start with our manifesto. And for those who have been listening over the last few weeks, we’ve been covering
things that really relate to the ethos of this podcast, No Tourist Allowed. And there are several other things that we want to talk about. These are things that are near and dear to our hearts, and also kind of make up the compilation of what we’re trying to, the messages we’re trying to get across to our listeners.
James Ferrara (04:11.11)
Absolutely right, Mike. And we’ve had, oh, I don’t know, six or seven of these points in our manifesto already in prior episodes. So if any of our listeners have missed it, guys, you can go back, of course, at notoursaloud.com. Or if you’re subscribed to us, which is even better, through Apple or Spotify or any of the platforms, you can look in your history there in your library of our episodes and hear some of these.
And we’ve, that’s this season alone, of course, go back to our first season, and we’ve discussed many other tips, ideas, and sort of central beliefs even that Mike and I share for how to travel in a better way, a more authentic way, to get more out of your travels, to make better memories, and to not be just a tourist, right? So first one.
we’ll start off with today is do not have this mentality of sort of seeing things and going to places just to tick them off a list. That’s a very touristy thing to do, I guess. And oftentimes on those lists you’ll find like the really big tourist attractions. And sometimes those tourist attractions are
less than what they’re made out to be. Right, Mike?
Mike Putman (05:43.189)
Yeah, yeah. And I mean, there’s certain things, you know, that they’re, they’re big things that everybody wants to go to and they’re culturally sound, but like going to the Eiffel Tower, right? I mean, you know, you can see the Eiffel Tower from all over Paris pretty much, but going to the Eiffel Tower, maybe you can get an Instagram picture, but unless you’re going up to the Jules Verne restaurant, which is a, uh, three star Michelin restaurant or two star Michelin restaurant.
James Ferrara (06:10.632)
Mike Putman (06:12.161)
there’s not a heck of a lot to see. But that’s kind of one of those tick the box things that people wanna do. But instead of doing that, you could spend your time at one of the great art museums, as an example, in Paris. They have a great impressionist museum, which is probably my favorite art museum in the world. And, you know, as well as the Louvre that’s there, as an example.
James Ferrara (06:38.977)
Yeah. Yeah, or you can go sit in a cafe or visit a classic French.
Brasserie and get much more of an experience out of it. You know one Rule of thumb I keep in mind to keep things more authentic and more local is If it’s free or cheap, you know, it tends to be what the locals do So if it’s free or cheap do that. That’s the way
Mike Putman (07:09.248)
Would you include places to eat, James?
James Ferrara (07:16.382)
Not on the free side. Be spontaneous guys too. That’s another thing. Don’t over schedule and don’t be rigid about your trip. Sure do a bit of research and have some places that you want to hit but leave time to wander a little bit and to sort of go with the flow and a little serendipity and
Mike Putman (07:16.725)
like soup kitchens in Paris or things like that. I can’t imagine you going to those.
James Ferrara (07:46.178)
Don’t stress yourself out and don’t block out the possibilities by being so rigidly scheduled.
Mike Putman (07:53.841)
Take advantage of public transportation. You can really meet a lot of interesting people and see how locals do actually live.
James Ferrara (08:02.25)
Yeah, talked about that too last time. So another one, Mike, that I think you and I share is read a book. Now, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a guidebook, although that’s a good idea too. But it could be a history book about the place you’re visiting. Or for me, I went to Scotland.
Mike Putman (08:05.254)
James Ferrara (08:30.526)
And I was reading a book about Scottish Boronial castles. Or you can read a fictional book, a novel that takes place in and around the area that you’re visiting. And it can add a kind of dimension. It inspires you, it creates an aura as you travel around, and adds a kind of dimension or depth to your experience of the place. Do you ever do that, Mark?
Mike Putman (08:58.493)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It definitely adds texture. I know John Grisham, who is a prolific, you know, uh, court attorney, legal writer wrote this kind of out of his norm, um, book and it was, uh, pizzas for football or something. And it was about this small town in Italy, but it was so, like it was just a captivating book because he writes such
I really enjoyed the way he writes, but it was very specific about this cathedral being on this street, this particular restaurant. These things were real places. The story was fictional, but these were real places. It does add some texture to your travel when you’ve had a chance to read. Look, if you’re going to go to Europe, especially, you’re going to be on the plane for seven, eight, nine hours, so why not?
James Ferrara (09:29.634)
Mike Putman (09:55.581)
want to immerse yourself in something that will give you some impact once you hit the ground. For short.
James Ferrara (10:03.138)
So I read a book in London on one trip called The Oldest Shops of London. And so it really was a sort of, you know, chapter by chapter, each a store in London, some of them 150, 200 years old, some of them still around, some of them not, you know. And so it was, in a sense, kind of part guidebook because I could go to a couple of those stores.
But in another way, it was a history, and it was just very evocative of London, and I really relished it. So look for opportunities like that. So that’s another portion of our manifesto that we’re spooning out today. And Mike?
Mike Putman (10:49.873)
Where did you, where did you find a book on old shops in London? I mean, how did you?
James Ferrara (10:54.318)
So I tend to shop in vintage book shops, right? So I like to find books that are no longer in print that might be anywhere from like 30 years old to a hundred years old or even older sometimes. I found a wonderful old cookbook, a hundred year old cookbook once in London. So I tend to root around in places like that.
Mike Putman (11:23.189)
Yeah, that was a good tip. Good tip.
James Ferrara (11:28.286)
So we’ve got some headlines that have been interesting too, Mike. Sometimes we take a moment to talk about what’s going on in the wider airline industry. And I know you spotted one or two.
Mike Putman (11:39.277)
Yeah, I mean this one is a rather bizarre one and this one might be something that’s right up your alley and also with the past guest Bryce Bay. But airports have begun selling day passes to the airport. So this is not to a lounge in the airport. This is just to get in pass security.
I’m not quite sure where this market originates from, why people would want to go sit in an airport, but it’s not something I like to do other than when I have to do it when I’m traveling to get to my destination. But the Orlando airport has begun selling these day passes, which will get you into their new terminal.
I think it’s Terminal C, if I remember correctly. It’s called the Experience Orlando Visitor Pass Program. Even if you don’t have an airline ticket, you can buy this. You’ve got to complete some paperwork, of course. You can go through security, just like the rest of us as we’re traveling, and go spend your day eating at a Taco Bell in the airport or watching people scurry around.
James Ferrara (13:05.319)
I would think that’s a security problem, no? I mean, you’re letting people into the airport who don’t actually have a flight bus.
Mike Putman (13:13.245)
I mean, but the only barrier taken out of the way is, you know, if somebody was nefarious just taking away them buying a $19 Spirited Airline ticket. Yeah. I was going to say, but you’re still, I mean, these people still have the same security rules, the 3-1-1 liquid rules. They can’t take, you know, things greater than 3.4 ounces, I believe, a hundred milliliters, if that’s right.
James Ferrara (13:20.93)
Buying a ticket. Yeah, yeah. Interesting. Good.
Mike Putman (13:42.581)
And also Seattle is doing the same thing and a place you’re going to soon, New Orleans is doing this as well.
James Ferrara (13:53.843)
Interesting. Well, I’m going to be there legit tomorrow, so I have an airline ticket.
Mike Putman (14:00.22)
Maybe your daughter can get one of these passes and meet you at the gate.
James Ferrara (14:04.63)
Well, wouldn’t that be nice? Now, Mike, you also know a bit about airport lounge passes. That’s another type of pass. So this is an interesting topic, right? And you and I both have dabbled in the airline lounge benefits idea before.
Mike Putman (14:06.379)
Mike Putman (14:26.589)
Yeah. And there’s, there’s lots of, you know, programs that you can get involved with either through your credit card, through a travel club, through an airline that could give you access, uh, to these lounges. And for those of you out there who’ve never been in an airport lounge, just kind of in general, it’s a quiet place. It’s, you know, it can be a sanctuary, uh, maybe the Delta sky.
lounges or not. They seem to be overrun at the moment. But it’s a sanctuary from being out in the middle in those hard plastic chairs with the rest of the folks. There’s typically free drinks. There’s typically snacks, sometimes even full meals, depending upon which ones you go to. Generally speaking, free Wi-Fi, televisions, magazines, things to make you much more comfortable.
And there’s several kind of levels of these. So as you travel, it pays to do your research and see which ones are available to you. A lot of travel clubs have access to a big portfolio of these. So there are 1,500 airport lounges around the world that are part of one association. And some credit cards actually have access to these as well. And then your airlines, you can buy…
James Ferrara (15:32.951)
So, I’m going to go ahead and start the presentation. presentation of the
Mike Putman (15:49.937)
You can buy a membership into the Delta lounges or the American lounges or the United lounges, I believe as well. And you pay a flat fee per year and you can gain access to those. And some of the airport lounges, I don’t think the US ones, but some of the international ones actually will allow you to buy a day pass of, you know, $75 to $150 to go in and have a break. So those are nice.
James Ferrara (16:19.532)
There’s another kind of pass too. You know, a couple of years ago, I got this app. I downloaded an app from like the Apple Store called DayPass. And DayPass gets you into, you can book actually a day at a beach club, at a resort using their facilities, at a health club.
that sort of thing all around the world. You know, Dubai and Tenerife and domestically in the US. And you pay by the day and it’s like 50 euro or you know, $50, $75, something like that. But it’s an app that consolidates all of those day passes and lets you book and they have some concierge services and so on. I’ve never actually used it and so this is not an endorsement.
and they’re not paying us for a commercial. I just think it’s interesting that there’s a market for this kind of thing. And I can see where it can add to your experience, especially nowadays, if you’re doing something like an Airbnb or a vacation rental and you don’t actually have access to like hotel facilities, you could go to a resort for the day and use their facilities by paying a small fee.
Mike Putman (17:43.677)
I’ll tell you the way I’ve used it. I haven’t necessarily used that app, but I’ve used the concept of what that app is promoting a couple of different ways. One in Mexico. Actually, I had a friend come to an all-inclusive resort. They weren’t staying at that resort. They were staying somewhere else, but we wanted to hang out for a day. And so they came over and they paid a fee and then they got access to drinks and food. And it was more than $50, but it was because it included everything.
James Ferrara (18:12.219)
Mike Putman (18:13.369)
and then they went back to their hotel afterwards. But the other two cases, once I was in Gatwick Airport and once I was in Edinburgh Airport and I had these extensive layovers, four, five, six, seven hours, and some of these hotels at the airport or adjacent to the airport offer day passes. And I think at one of those, actually I took a room, so it was a day room.
So sometimes if you’ve got an extended layover, have your travel agent look to see if there’s a hotel connected or adjacent to the airport, and they can oftentimes book you a day room, which might give you four or five hours to go relax, take a shower, especially if you’re flying from the US to Europe, changing planes, and then going on to Asia or something like that.
James Ferrara (18:47.254)
So, I’m going to go ahead and start the presentation. first item, which is the
Mike Putman (19:10.229)
It’s really helpful. So I’ve done that. And then another time I’ve just taken a pass where I could use their facilities, their pool, their spa, et cetera, for a few hours, which was nice as well. So that’s a good tip.
James Ferrara (19:21.367)
But well an interesting way to make your trip, you know to add to your trip, right?
Mike Putman (19:28.05)
James Ferrara (19:28.466)
Mike, you’ve got a big trip coming up, don’t you? I’m just going to New Orleans for a little bit of food and a little bit of parents’ weekend at college. But you are going halfway around the world.
Mike Putman (19:33.679)
Mike Putman (19:41.629)
Well, actually completely around the world. I’m going, I’m leaving in the next couple of weeks and heading to Japan for a few days to Tokyo. And I’ve been lucky enough to get into what is supposedly the top steakhouse in the world. And yeah, I’m going to have dinner there and I haven’t spent a lot of time.
James Ferrara (19:44.104)
Mike Putman (20:08.389)
in Tokyo and I’ve got a business meeting and then from there I’m going to Delhi, India, and then on to Pune and I’ve got an office in Pune, India, and I’m going to spend several days there. Yeah, and then on to London and then on to Spain as a matter of fact, then back home. So I’m truly going all the way around the world.
James Ferrara (20:29.554)
Well, that’s quite a trip. And I know that kind of travel can really take it out of you. But because you go there so often, Mike, for work, you have an office there and business there, you could be our guide into a more authentic experience of India. What tips do you have for us for how to visit India?
Mike Putman (20:56.193)
Yeah, so first of all, you do need a visa. So you need a tourist visa or a business visa. You can apply for those online, but one tip is your passport has to be valid beyond six months from your return date. So if you were leaving on November 1st and returning on December 1st, then your passport would have to be valid through May.
of the following year. I learned that at my expense one time. So that’s one thing. And this is quick and easy to get it online. So it’s nothing to worry about, but you do need to do it a few days in advance just to be careful or to be safe. But when
James Ferrara (21:39.789)
By the way, we recommend that for, you know, as travel advisors, we recommend that for everyone, right? That your passport should always be valid for at least six months beyond your stay.
Mike Putman (21:51.781)
you never know what could happen. But India is a bustling, vibrant, sensory overload. People often ask me because I go quite a bit, and it’s all of your senses are just overexposed. I mean, there are fragrances, some good, some bad. There is…
James Ferrara (22:16.205)
Mike Putman (22:17.605)
Anytime you open your eyes, especially in any of the cities, it’s just the throng of people is unimaginable. How many people are there? The taste of food is different, and it’s not quite like most of the Indian food that we get here is very, it gives the word vibrant. There’s a lot of very fresh spices and interesting flavors.
but in the colors, I mean, it’s just sensory overload wherever you go. And it can kind of get to you when you’re not used to that many people, that much noise, that much smell, and again, not necessarily a bad smell, but that much. And so you have to kind of take it in a little bit at a time and kind of slowly immerse yourself. But it’s a land of great resources, of great people.
James Ferrara (23:01.398)
I think that’s a great way to start.
Mike Putman (23:16.433)
People are really friendly. You know, it’s very safe. Street food is readily available. We have a very big modern office in Pune. And if you walk outside, what most of the people that work there would go to street vendors and have their lunch there if they didn’t bring it in themselves.
But that’s the way a lot of people in India eat. India’s kind of roughly the size of the US. So people say, well, is it gonna be hot or cold? It depends. I mean, if you kind of took the US and kind of turned it on its ends, you would have Sri Lanka would be at the very bottom and then at the top you would have
the borders of Pakistan and to the east to China, and you get very different climates wherever you are. So it’s a big country. I mean, there’s so many things to do and see there. It’s something I think everybody should try to visit.
James Ferrara (24:33.356)
How do you get around when you’re there?
Mike Putman (24:36.693)
Um, and I’ve told this to my friends over there. If I lived there, I would not have a car. Um, the Ubers or taxis and they’ve got another Uber like system over there is readily available and it is so inexpensive. Um, I took a 15 minute, um, excuse me, a 15 kilometer, it’s called a seven and a half mile, eight mile trip, which took about 40 minutes. The traffic at times is really not so good. And it was.
for like three US dollars. So the majority of trips that you take using Uber or one of the taxis is like the equivalent of a dollar, maybe it’s a dollar 50 now. So, I mean, there’d be no, you don’t have to deal with parking, you don’t have to deal with driving, you just have to deal with giving them the right address, which can be challenging at times as well, and let them do the work. Also, enter India.
They probably have the most prolific train system in the world. That’s the way the majority of people travel, as well as buses. And it’s not quite so glamorous, but it’s very efficient. It’s extremely inexpensive. I mean, you can go hundreds of miles for $5, $6, $7. It’s really inexpensive.
James Ferrara (25:56.232)
Mike Putman (26:01.789)
And they do have some trains with some first-class compartments, but they tend to stop a lot and a lot of people use them. They oftentimes are overcrowded, but India is also full of low-cost carriers. So you can fly around the country for really inexpensive rates. So it’s a big country. So if you’re flying from…
one end to the other. I mean, it’s like flying from LA to New York. It’s a long trip.
James Ferrara (26:36.583)
What have you done with your free time there? Any favorite experiences that you give us a tip on?
Mike Putman (26:44.378)
Well, the first time I went, I went with a society and it was kind of like a business mission trip where we met with a lot of the top entrepreneurs, law firms and accounting firms. We did a trip. We went to Mumbai and there’s a place called Elephant Island, which is off…
off from Mumbai and we took a boat out there, which was really nice. We went down to Bangalore and we went through a lot of different gardens. And then we ended up going to Delhi and then over to Agra to see the Red Fort, which is this humongous red fort, a couple thousand years old. And then we went over to the Taj Mahal as well. But those were kind of, some of those things were kind of tourist.
touristy, but that was also 25 years ago, the first time I went. So there was, you know, it was one of those trips that you didn’t, at that point, I didn’t know if I’d ever go again. So I wanted to see a lot of the highlights and it was a kind of a set itinerary with business meetings in between.
But there’s a lot of people that go over for a couple of weeks to do yoga retreats or to do health cleansing retreats. There’s just cooking schools. There’s so much to do in India, just like there is in the US.
James Ferrara (28:00.176)
James Ferrara (28:20.128)
I am, you know, heading off to New Orleans as you said. Nothing as exotic as what you’re heading into, but of course New Orleans for me is a lot about food. Well, every destination is a lot about food. And we have some great reservations. My daughter goes to school there.
And she is just like her father. So she set up all these reservations at top restaurants around town. But I am really looking forward to getting a poo boy at Parkway Tavern. And Parkway Tavern, a po boy. Yeah. And well, if you go to the wrong place, it might be a poo boy.
Mike Putman (28:58.881)
What? Oh boy, yes.
Mike Putman (29:07.945)
James Ferrara (29:11.67)
But Parkway Tavern, very famous, has been making sandwiches since 1911, I think. And it’s mostly outdoor, and it’s a very, you know, sort of bare bones picnic tables and so on. But they make incredibly good sandwiches. Plus, you know, some very healthy options, side dishes like fried pickles and stuff like that.
Mike Putman (29:41.4)
Onion rings, sure.
James Ferrara (29:45.15)
So we’ll be doing that at a couple of other culinary experiences like that.
Mike Putman (29:53.205)
Well, great, great. And then at the end of my trip, I’m heading over to London, the world travel market starts up in early November, and that is the largest travel or second largest travel event, industry event in the world. And I think the one in Berlin is bigger ITP, but this is plenty big. And to describe this building is in the Excel building in East London, near Canary Wharf.
James Ferrara (30:21.86)
Mike Putman (30:22.757)
This building is, gosh, I don’t even know how I would put it into something that our listeners could…
James Ferrara (30:30.326)
It’s like ten convention centers stitched together. Like you go into what they call a hall, and that in and of itself is like a whole convention center. And then there’s another hall, and then another hall, and then…
Mike Putman (30:49.093)
And I think that hall is more than a half a mile long, just to put it in perspective. And then you have these branching things off. So anyhow, so, but every tourist organization, generally speaking will be there. And you go into one, they call them, I think, pavilions, and it might be Europe. And you go into another that’s Africa, and you go into another that’s UK. And it’s in each one of these hundreds and hundreds of…
James Ferrara (30:54.326)
Mike Putman (31:18.369)
Tourist boards, hotels, cruise lines, activity providers that are there and they’re all there to share what they do and try to get travel agents and other parts of the travel ecosystem to promote or sell their products. It’s a very interesting week and I look forward to getting back to London and having some couple of nice meals there as well.
James Ferrara (31:47.928)
One of the halls or pavilions is technology related to travel too. So that’s.
Mike Putman (31:55.425)
James Ferrara (31:56.738)
I know very interesting to you.
Mike Putman (31:58.909)
Yep, that’s where I’ll spend the majority of my time. Almost exclusively, I’ll have meetings there. But yeah, it’s a great event, and people come from all over the world, literally all over the world, and it is a packed, packed event as well.
James Ferrara (32:13.226)
And then London, as you say, great food destination. We didn’t used to think of London that way, 30, 40 years ago, but really is a great culinary scene now. And speaking of India, maybe some of the finest Indian food outside of India can be found in London, some great favorites there.
Mike Putman (32:36.957)
And I know this used to be true. I’m not, and I should double check it now, but there, as of last year, there were more Michelin starred restaurants in London, that one city than in the entire U S just to give you a perspective.
James Ferrara (32:54.43)
That’s amazing. Especially when we used to think of British food as kind of drab and uninteresting. That’s not at all the scene that I find and you find when we go to the UK. I know I’m stuck on this sandwich theme for a minute, but it just reminded me. Another great tip when you’re in New Orleans. Again, if you’re a bit of a history buff like I am or you’re a little bit of a history buff,
into food like most of us. There’s a famous sandwich that is native to New Orleans called the Muffaletta. And it is like what we would call in New York, an Italian hero, but it comes on a specially baked bread that’s kind of round, and then it’s cut in slices like a pie, you know, in triangular slices. And…
Inside the bread are these Italian meats. And then the signature part of it is what they call a giardinara, which is pickled vegetables. So they’re vegetables like peppers and celery and carrots and stuff, softened and pickled in a brine. And they’re put on top of the meats. And then the top is put on the sandwich. So a muffaletta is something.
You really only get in New Orleans, very, very legendary. And it started, now you can get them everywhere there, but the place that started is still open called Central Grocery in the French Quarter. And you have to sort of go there early because they run out of bread by about noon time. So you go there, it’s usually a little bit of a line. You get your muffuletta sandwich.
And when they run out of bread, they close. They close the store. So something to look for if you’re interested in a little historic, maybe authentic slice, no pun intended, of New Orleans.
Mike Putman (36:07.529)
And that about wraps it up for us this week, listeners. So please go to notouristallowed.com and register. If you haven’t already, register for the rifle. This is a killer cruise that we’re giving away, compliments of Virgin Voyages.
And remember, you get to choose whichever cruise you like, as long as you complete the cruise by June, I believe, of next year. And we’ll be giving that cruise away in the next coming months. So register while you can, take advantage of the other offers to get more entries into the raffle. And we look forward to seeing you next week.
James Ferrara (36:59.602)
Yeah, thank you everybody. Thanks for joining us at No Tourists Allowed.